growing Moso in the USA
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Author:  Steve73 [ Fri May 22, 2020 1:47 pm ]
Post subject:  growing Moso in the USA

I used to be active on this forum about ten years ago under a different user name. It was a very active forum then. People seemed to be planting moso left and right. So what ever became of all of this moso?

I ask because I tried planting it last year. I thought I stood a decent chance of growing this stuff. My plant eventually died, although I have reason to believe it was already weak when I got it. It was a 1 gallon that I suspect was just freshly chopped off of a bigger plant, so not established in the pot at all. I want to try it again, but Im a little hesitant after my last attempt. Hoping that was just due to a weakened plant though. Am I wasting my time trying to grow this in my area? (Im 100 miles south of Memphis).

We are aware of the well known groves in the US, but who is having success elsewhere? How far inland are people having good luck with it?

Please share your moso successes and failures.

Author:  needmore [ Fri May 22, 2020 2:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: growing Moso in the USA

I'd think that you are in the zone where it should do really well for you. Source a plant where the seller will confirm that it has been divided long enough to have new rhizome growth in it's pot.

Author:  Steve73 [ Fri May 22, 2020 3:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: growing Moso in the USA

I will probably end up trying it again. Will start out with a better plant next time. It seems to have a reputation for being finicky. Maybe its not as finicky as I have been led to believe. Just dont seem to be a lot of pictures of nice groves, considering the amount of people who have tried it.

Author:  needmore [ Fri May 22, 2020 9:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: growing Moso in the USA

I think it has a somewhat narrow band of where it will do well and I think you are in it - I am not and mine out here is quite short but pretty.

My assumption is that it want ample rainfall, humidity, winters that get cold but stay above 10F and no multi-day deep freezes. I've never lived anywhere that fits that description but look at Lewis Bamboo, I would imagine you are not too far from them?

Author:  springtimeshoots [ Mon May 25, 2020 8:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: growing Moso in the USA

Man I've had my share of dead Moso plantings. I hate to think back to those days because it wasn't pretty seeing them all die a very painfully slow death. The worst of them were the ones that made it out of Aug only to roll over and die for no reason what so ever.

Seems like once they are on a decline there's little chance they will recover, at least in my experience.

My only advice to you is to try and keep the transplant under partial sunlight and to avoid mid/late summer afternoon sun at all cost.

Author:  Tarzanus [ Mon May 25, 2020 6:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: growing Moso in the USA

And, they hate being in a pot. Any kind of container, they just hate it. As soon as my seedlings ran out into clay rich hard'n'heavy soil, they thrived. I would assume they would prefer nice cozy potting soil I prepared for them, but nooooooo. :mrgreen:
I have decided that my current batch of seedlings (half Moso seeds and half Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Spectabilis' fake seeds) will be introduced to raised bed in their first growing year if possible. I saw great results with Moso and Phyllostachys arcana seedlings. Only problem would be harsh winter, Moso can be quite delicate. By placing PVC cover over and pile up snow if we get it, they wouldn't even know it's cold.
BTW, the fake seed seedlings are acting very Moso-ish so far. By far less vigor than Phy. arcana seedlings I've grown, a lot of yellow leaved seedlings that are just a bit better than full albino seedlings and they only manage to shoot once before they perish. All green and seemingly healthy plants are lacking vigor, they upsize nicely, but they are by far less aggressive than Phy. arcana seedlings. I really need to make a few photos, before I completely lose the yellow ones...

About growing Moso outside...
A lot of water - the soil around it gets dried out in a couple of days after rain oaks it completely. It responds when watered regularly here, especially during the summer.
Sun exposure - sun burns it. In full sun, it thrives around here (Central Europe), but in the end, leaves are yellow-ish, with burnt tips and edges with necrotic spots. In the middle of the clump, leaves are dark green and intact.
Winter - temperatures below -10°C start hurting it, in prolonged cold weather, they suffer even more. If you pile up snow over it (when it's still small enough) it keeps it happy even with a lot cooler temps. -20°C top kills it around here. Some culms re-leaf the following season, but they look crappy and it's better to remove them. Wind, sun and frozen soil combination - top kill incoming.
Fertiization - Only in the beginning of the summer or when it shoots. we have cold winters and any growth that doesn't harden enough gets fried easily. They need to go dormant before first polar air closes in. It reacts great when fertilized though, just not too late in the season.
Place - its rhizome network is much denser than any other bamboo's I own. Culms above ground are not even that close together, but the rhizome mass below is completely packed up. That helps sucking all the water almost instantly after a good rain or watering.
PEsts - voles love it. When it gets established, they don't really do much damage, but they did make a tunnel network below my clump and during rainy spring, I experienced whole grove collapse one level lower. Snow on the leaves was heavy and almost all the culms went down. I've had bamboo poles with their anchor roots still attached that season. Bamboo mites love it, I've had severe infestation of all my bamboos and I'm now spraying with cold water regularly. I think I managed to kill most of them this winter.

Author:  Steve73 [ Thu May 28, 2020 11:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: growing Moso in the USA

I think my main issue was that the plant I started with was a small recent division. It was not stable. We also had an unusually dry summer that year. The odds were not in my favor from the start.

Author:  ShmuBamboo [ Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: growing Moso in the USA

Moso is a fussy species. I have grown it inland and on the coast in Oregon and California. It likes the coast with warmer winters and cooler summers. Inland it bakes and gets ratty, or freezes and gets ratty. It also does not like to be in pots. It wants room to grow lots of rhizome. I have one spindly Moso left here in a pot that did next to nothing for 3 years. It is all I have left after selling off my collection of about 30 of them. Portland is mad about Moso. I sold 20 to one guy a few years ago. He would have bought all 30 if I had not already sold the other 10. Anyway, my one spindly Moso has decided to resurrect itself this year and it has thrown up two new 8 foot shoots. It has also escaped from the pot and has 2 shoots from rhizomes 2 feet from the pot. Sneaky bamboos. Always escaping their containers. Anyway, I will have to dig up the escapees and pot them up, and pot up the shooting one after they harden off. I got this one from a gal that used to work for Ned when BG was in Milwaukie, OR before they moved to North Plains. Its standard furry green Moso.

The best Moso stand I have seen was down in Coquille, OR down by Coos Bay. RKR is a huge nursery. We drove around in golf carts looking at all the bamboo groves there. They had gobs of Moso 40-50 feet tall and 4 inches round. Most was bent over somewhat from the west wind. BG has descent stands of Moso but they are far smaller. Paul at what used to be Bamboo Koi & Gardens in West Linn, OR (now called Bamboos and Shibas) has some good size Moso, 5 inches across. He said that the secret to sizing them up was to thin them. Also Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, CA has a good Moso stand. They keep getting Tortoise shell Mosos in huge pots from somewhere, but they seem to always revert to normal form when they plant them in the ground. The worst stand of Moso I saw was at Foothill College in Los Altos, CA. The curator there told me that they did not do well there, and always looked like crap. Compared to the Vivax stand growing next to the Moso, it was obvious. They were both planted on a sunny hillside in clay soil, with some type of Pleioblastus growing as an understory. The effect was quite nice with the vivax. Not so much with the Moso.

Author:  Alan_L [ Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: growing Moso in the USA

Quote: one spindly Moso has decided to resurrect itself this year and it has thrown up two new 8 foot shoots. It has also escaped from the pot...

In my experience any potted plant (of any type, not just bamboo) that sort of lingers and then mysteriously starts growing or looking a lot better -- that's a clear indication that its roots have escaped into the soil below. I've seen it so many times. :)

Author:  serenityinbamboo [ Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: growing Moso in the USA

I have tried planting Moso on 3 different occasions and no luck what so ever. Seeing as all the other bamboo I have planted, I have had success with, I would say it really is

Author:  needmore [ Sun Aug 02, 2020 3:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: growing Moso in the USA

I think it might be like a fruit tree that needs a minimum of chill hours.

Author:  Tarzanus [ Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: growing Moso in the USA

Temperate bamboos need to chill during winter, or else they just start to decline, or grow extremely poorly.
I've grown seedlings that stopped growing after I overwintered them inside and only grew a few tiny shoots during the following season. Tiny little half dead seedlings that remained outside in the cold exploded with healthy growth and major upsize. When I let them stay outside, they recovered.

Not just Moso. All Phyllostachys need winter dormancy.

Regarding Moso, it's one of the most fussy bamboos I have. Even the ones that are marginal in my climate recover better and Moso hates just everything - too much sun, not enough sun, too much rain, not enough rain, low winter temperatures (it would love warmer temps but we get nasty spring freezes lately), ... Voles love it, bamboo mites adore it, some kind of worms (eating developing leaf and growing tip) infest it...

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